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Lafayette Courts ends in 20 seconds of explosions, cheers, tears

August 20, 1995|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writer Kate Shatzkin contributed to this article.

A cloud of dust rose at an almost stately pace, fanning out in a fog over parts of East Baltimore and downtown, and then disappeared within minutes to reveal massive piles of rubble, and surprisingly, a stand of trees.

"Stone is usually stronger than wood," Derek Bougher, 11, of Glen Burnie said in wonderment as he watched from the World Trade Center.

It took two years of preparation but just seconds of explosion for each of the six towers to come down. The demolition had to be delayed briefly, because a person ventured too close to the site, and the crowd counted down from 10 twice.

But shortly after noon, the buildings collapsed perfectly, as planned by Controlled Demolition Inc., the Baltimore County company that took down the bomb-wrecked federal building in Oklahoma City in May.

The one accident reported in connection with the demolition was the apparent fall off the viaduct of a man identified by police as Raymond Edward Stine, 48, of the 1000 block of Union Ave. in Hampden.

A passer-by found Mr. Stine lying in the 400 block of Guilford Ave. about 11:45 a.m. and flagged down an officer, police said. Mr. Stine was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead shortly after noon.

His daughter, Kelly Ritenour, said he was a carpenter who had bad legs from an accident several years ago and didn't drive. He had said nothing about watching the demolition.

For Carolyn Lamma, who made a pilgrimage to Lafayette Courts on Friday night to say farewell to her childhood home, the demolition was more than she expected. "I'm just glad I was here in person," she said. "That was history."

The rubble will be removed over the next 60 to 75 days, and much of it will be recycled as a base for some of the new construction of the redesigned Lafayette Courts.

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